The Huawei Mate 60 Pro is one of the most anticipated smartphones of 2023, but also one of the most secretive. The Chinese tech giant has not revealed much information about the device, especially about its system-on-chip (SoC), which is the brain of the smartphone. However, some recent reports and rumors have shed some light on the mystery of the Mate 60 Pro’s SoC, and here is what we know so far.
The Kirin 9000S: A New Variant of the Kirin 9000
The Mate 60 Pro is powered by a Kirin SoC, which is designed by Huawei’s own chip subsidiary, HiSilicon. This is not surprising, as Huawei has been using its own chips for its flagship phones for years. However, the exact model of the Kirin SoC is not officially confirmed by Huawei, and there are different speculations about it.
One of the most credible sources is Digital Chat Station, a well-known tipster on Weibo, who claims that the Mate 60 Pro uses a Kirin 9000S SoC. This is a new variant of the Kirin 9000, which was launched in 2020 and used in the Mate 40 series. The Kirin 9000S has eight CPU cores in a 1+3+4 configuration, which means one high-performance core, three medium-performance cores, and four low-power cores. The Kirin 9000S also has a Mali-G78 MP24 GPU, which is the same as the Kirin 9000.
The Kirin 9000S is said to be a slightly downgraded version of the Kirin 9000, with lower clock speeds and less cache memory. However, it still offers impressive performance and power efficiency, thanks to its 5nm process technology and integrated 5G modem. The Kirin 9000S is also compatible with HarmonyOS 4.0, Huawei’s own operating system that runs on the Mate 60 Pro.
The Satellite Chip: A Unique Feature of the Mate 60 Pro
Another interesting aspect of the Mate 60 Pro’s SoC is that it has a dedicated chip that enables satellite connectivity. This means that the phone can make calls and send messages via satellite networks, without relying on cellular or Wi-Fi networks. This feature can be useful in remote areas or emergency situations, where conventional networks are not available or reliable.
The satellite chip on the Mate 60 Pro is different from the solution used by other phones that support satellite connectivity, such as the iPhone 14 series. The iPhone 14 uses a clever workaround on its antennas to access satellite signals, but it can only send text messages to emergency services via satellite. The Mate 60 Pro, on the other hand, has a more sophisticated solution that allows full voice and data communication via satellite.
The satellite chip on the Mate 60 Pro is reportedly developed by Huawei HiSilicon, in collaboration with China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), a state-owned enterprise that specializes in defense and electronics. The chip uses a low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network, which consists of thousands of satellites that orbit closer to Earth than traditional geostationary satellites. The LEO network offers lower latency and higher bandwidth than geostationary satellites, making it more suitable for mobile communication.
The Future of Huawei’s Chip Development
The Mate 60 Pro’s SoC is a testament to Huawei’s chip development capabilities, despite the US sanctions that have crippled its supply chain. Huawei has been unable to source advanced chip-making equipment from US suppliers since May 2019, which has limited its ability to produce new chips or outsource them to other foundries. As a result, Huawei has been facing a shortage of chips for its smartphones and other products.
However, Huawei has not given up on its chip ambitions, and has been exploring various ways to overcome the challenges. One of them is to invest in domestic chip production and innovation, by supporting local foundries and design companies. For instance, Huawei has reportedly ordered chips from Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China’s largest chipmaker, which can produce chips using a 14nm process technology. Huawei has also partnered with Shanghai Microelectronics Equipment (SMEE), a Chinese company that makes lithography machines for chip fabrication.
Another way that Huawei is trying to secure its chip supply is to diversify its sources and markets. Huawei has been looking for alternative suppliers from other countries, such as Japan and South Korea, that are not affected by the US sanctions. Huawei has also been expanding its chip business to other sectors, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, automotive, and Internet of Things (IoT). By doing so, Huawei hopes to reduce its dependence on smartphone chips and create new revenue streams.
The Mate 60 Pro’s SoC is a remarkable achievement for Huawei, but it is also a rare product that may not be replicated in the near future. Huawei’s chip development is still facing many uncertainties and difficulties, and it is unclear how long it can sustain its innovation and competitiveness. However, Huawei has shown its resilience and determination to overcome the challenges, and it may still surprise us with its next-generation chips.